Monday, July 12, 2010

Chinese-Style Pickled Cucumbers

Recently, I had dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia, called Hong Kong Palace (6837 Leesburg Pike). Upon entering, I was given the option of ordering from either the "American menu" or the "Chinese menu." I took both menus, because I had a craving for Americanized vegetable lo mein. From the Chinese menu, I ordered pickled cucumbers as an appetizer. After dinner, I thought to myself, I have to find a recipe for this dish!

Finding a similar recipe on the internet was not difficult. The version below is a hybridization of this recipe from Appetite from China and this recipe from Geema. While I would have preferred to use Thai red chilis, or any red chilis for that matter, they simply were not available at the grocery store. Hence, I used the more readily available red pepper flakes.

This dish is easy to prepare and makes a great side dish for an Asian entree. In my case, I served this dish with mapo tofu (tofu in a spicy chili sauce), the recipe for which I plan on posting sometime next week.

Chinese-Style Pickled Cucumbers

5 to 6 Kirby cucumbers
Salt for tossing cucumbers
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar
1 medium-size carrot, thinly sliced (using a vegetable peeler)
Sesame seeds, for garnishing (optional)

Cut the cucumbers lengthwise into quarters and then into 1 to 2-inch pieces. Place the cucumbers in a colander, toss them in some salt, and let stand for about 20-30 minutes.

Thoroughly rinse the cucumbers under cold tap water and pat dry with a towel. Place the cucumbers and carrots in a bowl.

Heat the sesame oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pepper flakes and cook until they start to deepen in color. Take the skillet off the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the cucumbers and carrots and toss. Add the chili-infused oil to the bowl of cucumbers and carrots and toss. Let stand for about 1 hour, until cooled. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.


Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

I tried this and really enjoyed it though I accidentally put too much salt on the cucumbers. Thanks for posting this :).

Rick Jones said...

That looks really good, I'm going to print out the recipe and give it a shot tonight!